Sunday, January 15, 2006

3 strikes: a possibility, a regret and a reminder

I particularly liked, and still do, to sit in the last row. Be it a talk, a class, tutorial or a lecture. I dislike the feeling of people watching my back. Therein perhaps lies the irony of this tale.

As I was saying, I enjoyed sitting in the last row. So I had planted myself at the seat nearest to the aisle in the last row.

It was the first day of the semester. The first lecture. I didn't do much listening that day, for the silhouette of the girl just in front of me had caught my attention. I have always found a girl's nape attractive, but hers was particularly alluring. If I believed in the existance of reincarnation, I might have guessed I was a Japanese in my previous life.

I was to return to that seat for every week of that semester and for some reason, so did she to hers. She, always the penultimate row, nearest to the right aisle, centre column. I, always the last row, nearest to the right aisle, centre column.

As luck would have it, we ended up in the same tutorial group. I eventually got to know her name and conversed with her a few times. She didn't give me good vibes though. Her reactions to my tentative approaches then were somewhere between reticent and curt.

Nonetheless, I still spent the whole semester admiring her nape. And somehow, I also managed to ace the course. Don't ask me how.

All too soon, the semester was over. I didn't pursue. I didn't try my luck. I had just gotten over someone else and wanted to be sure there was to be no 藕斷絲連 before I even considered another possibility. That was what she was then. A possibility. I suppose her aloofness further discouraged me. So I simply locked up memories of that lovely nape and whatever little I knew of her and threw away the keys.

Strike One.

I was to not see much of her for the rest of my first year there. In the second year, however, I started bumping into her along the corridors leading to the labs more often. I found out later it was because she was working on her Honours thesis. A couple of times, we would end up chatting there, right smack in the middle of the corridor.

Her demeanor had softened somewhat this time round. In fact, she started taking some interest in what I do and actually asked me some questions. But of course, these conversations were few and far between, given the copious amount of luck required. I didn't read too much into them either.

Until that Saturday in May. Circumstances conspired to bring both of us to school again, to that same corridor leading to the labs. She was in school to put final touches to her thesis and I was in school to occupy every PC there was to run my cumbersome program. I think we spoke for an hour that day.

This was to be her last day in school, she informed me.

She also told me about her impending graduation, apprehension regarding her first job (she had already found one), uncertainty over her dad's poor health...

She asked for my opinions regarding working life, the statutory bodies (one of which she was joining for her first job)...

She enquired about my work, my past work, my actuarial exams...

As I write this, clear images of that day are flooding back. We were leaning on the opposite walls of the corridor whilst talking. The corridor was flooded with white light and completely empty. There wasn't a need to check our voices for it was the holidays; Nobody was around. I even remember her jeans and how she placed the right sole on the wall as we spoke.

The longer we spoke, the louder the keys were tingling in me. Someone had found them and they wanted the memories to be unlocked, re-examined and most of all, to be continued. I fought that feeling. When we finally said our goodbyes, asking for her number or e-mail address was right there at the tip of my tongue. But I didn't. Instead, I turned and walked towards the lifts.

By the time I reached the bus stop, I knew that was, realistically speaking, the last time I was going to see her. Ever. With that thought came an impulse to turn and sprint back. But I didn't.

I knew why then, as I still do now. I was a coward. I offered myself the meek reason that if we're meant to meet again, we will. For a short while, I regretted my own cowardice. I don't often meet girls I fancy and I've just let one such possibility slip through my fingers without even trying. And I was quite right too, for I didn't meet anyone that affected me like she did for the next couple of years.

With that, I bought another lock, a bigger and stronger one, banished those meagre memories in there and threw away the keys again. A possibility had degenerated into a fading regret.

Strike Two.

I didn't have much time to dwell on the regret though, for my niece came along soon after and I became a full-time uncle. Moreover, I started to really enjoy my singlehood. In the midst of all these, I came over to Sydney in early 2003. I honestly thought she would just fade out and become a mere blip in my memory.

But luck intervened. Via pure coincidence, her e-mail address literally fell onto my lap in late 2004. I didn't hesitate and initiated contact immediately. She reciprocated. We corresponded a couple of times and this time round, she seemed even more receptive to my approaches than before.

Or so I thought.

She must've caught onto what was coming pretty early on, for a couple of dates in (when I was back in town for the summer break), she told me in a roundabout manner that she was attached. For many many years too. In fact, way before I had first known her.

Funny thing was, I had also decided that was the day I would tell her how I felt about her. She had just pre-empted me. By a mere couple of minutes or hours.

The other quirk was, on hindsight, that announcement invalidated strikes one and two. They needn't have happened.

Strike three.

Actually, "strike three" has been covered in far greater detail in a
previous post. I've merely produced a short summary of it above, upon request by my second regular reader, who also requested to hear the full story. Indeed, there is also a continuation to "strike three" and that previous post pretty much covered that as well. So go brush up your chinese.

To carry on the tale a little bit more, we have kept in touch since I've flown back to Sydney in late July (around the birth of this blog). I hadn't bothered with locking up this time round. I shan't suppress their existance anymore. But I have been warning and warding myself against any false hopes.

I had sieved through our correspondance as I wrote up this post. Reading through them again, they seem to reaffirm that she had been suspicious about my initial intentions but that suspicion has faded over time. As for myself, I believe I'm coming to terms with the current situation. I value her friendship very much, just as I do with all my pals. Having said that, I'm still not entirely convinced of myself. The acid test will come when I return home for good.

It's difficult trying to "define" her position in me right now. The best way I can put it is she personifies a reminder. A reminder that a higher level of contentment or even happiness is possible. Weigh this up with my current state of reasonably high level of contentment, you might deduce that I am experiencing a certain amount of inertia in adopting a more active attitude to pursuing it.

Yes, in fact you're right, that is exactly what has been going through my mind for the past half year since my return to Sydney. But it's not a bad kind of indecision to have.

Heh, given that I am a decisive person, that last statement felt really out of place. Even to myself.

Akan Datang: PSLE and my maternal grandmother

75 days to go.


Anonymous Anonymous said... is she now single? or attached?


Sun Jan 15, 09:47:00 am 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Attached and soon to be married (that's what she told me).

The details are in the "previous post" I've mentioned above. Link has also been provided.

Sun Jan 15, 09:54:00 am 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, i had read that. But in that previous post, you had mentioned that she was apprehensive about marriage. That was a good half a year ago.


Sun Jan 15, 09:59:00 am 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

So des ne.

Then accept my apologies, Gingle_ale.

But the first part of my previous comment still stands, i.e. "attached and soon to be married".

Sun Jan 15, 10:02:00 am 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm...thought it may good news and acey can go dating. :P


Sun Jan 15, 10:05:00 am 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Well, thanks for indirect well-wishes.

And I hope she never ever finds this blog.

Sun Jan 15, 10:08:00 am 2006  
Blogger ChroniclesofChaos said...

Yade Yade!

Insult me and my mandarin to the world why don't you?

Hey I did read the entire mandarin blog... I understood it even.

Acey will still go dating when he gets back here... no worries! There are plenty more fish in the sea... just stay away from puffer fish please.

Sun Jan 15, 12:10:00 pm 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Puffer fish? How did that come into the equation? And what's wrong with puffer fish?

Sun Jan 15, 12:13:00 pm 2006  
Blogger ChroniclesofChaos said...

Well Puffer Fish is a delicacy, but you can only eat it in restaurants that have a certificate to serve the fish.

The danger in eating puffer fish is the poison that runs along certain parts of its body.

Whilst the pursuit of the object of temptation is sometimes admirable, the pitfalls it comes with is sometimes, just not worth the risk.

Sun Jan 15, 12:23:00 pm 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Yeah, I know what a puffer fish is. But there are LOTS of poisonous fish around loh.

Never mind, just our generation gap again, I think. *Grin*

Sun Jan 15, 12:29:00 pm 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha... a puffer fish? my first time hearing such analogy.

So what is the type of fish most guys prefer? A clown fish?


Sun Jan 15, 12:33:00 pm 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Now that's a no-brainer.

Mermaids of course. HA HA HA...

Sun Jan 15, 12:38:00 pm 2006  
Blogger ChroniclesofChaos said...

I re-read the blog and comments today. Felt I really have to give it my two cents worth.

There CAN'T be a generation gap with puffer fish. It is a widely known fact. It is covered in National Geographics as well.

Anyways... conclusion for the blog has already been covered so I await the ending tale via email in 3 months.

Mon Jan 16, 10:25:00 am 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

There won't be any ending tale.

By the way (oops?! :P), apologies to Ginger_ale. I realised just recently I've misspelled your nick right from your first comments. Pai seh ah...

Mon Jan 16, 10:29:00 am 2006  

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